Monday, December 22, 2008

Weary Travelers

There we were, stranded at the airport, weary, tired and disappointed. Our destination was two states away, and due to the blizzard outside, we couldn't go anywhere. The only available lodging was impossible to get to with 1 1/2 hour taxi wait lines in 20-degree weather and wind with small children.

As I stood there, considering our options and, feeling the exhaustion and weariness of a tired mother, I wondered if Mary felt anything similar as they traveled while she was pregnant to Bethlehem. They had traveled for days, riding donkeys, being exposed to the elements. Compelled to a journey demanded of their ruler.

We experienced thirty-six hours of activity and stress, moving from one line to the next. Learning of flight delays and cancelations, waiting at gates, running for food and bathroom visits. Lugging baggage in a rush here and there. My husband and I were there, watching over three children, sometimes carrying our 40-pound toddler, or soothing emotionally tired kiddos and hoping then learning plans had changed. I was one weary mother, traveling at Christmas time. This reminded me of Mary. Unable to see straight due to fatigue, sleep deprivation and exhaustion.

But here's what stood out to me:

From the beginning of Luke's account of the Bible story of Jesus' upcoming birth, when Luke first mentions the angel's visit to Mary, we read she said to the angel: "Behold the servant of the Lord. Let it be to me as you have said." (see Luke 1:38). She trusted God. What a frightening experience, being told she would become pregnant out of wedlock and be asked to face the ridicule of her culture, and being told she would bear the Son of God. Wondering what all that could mean. Amazing prospect, this calling on her life. But she said, "let it happen (to me) according to your word." Such reliance on the mercy of God.

We are always at God's mercy. But, unlike Mary, we often don't know what God is going to allow in our lives, or what He may call us to walk through. Mary knew (to some degree) and still said yes. That's courage. That's trust.

I imagine she had intimacy with God at a level that graced her to know she could trust Him. That knowledge of God brought His favor, His attention, His affection and His calling. He trusted her and she trusted Him.

Just something I'm pondering this Christmas season.

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